According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than half of all new electricity generation capacity— 153 Gigawatt (GW)— created last year was derived from renewable sources. The increase, a 15% uptick since 2014, is comprised predominantly of solar and wind power.
Policy changes, advancements in technology, and increasing affordability were all attributed to the rise, as well as large-scale projects adopted by nations and large corporations. For instance, China was responsible for 40% of new energy, at an averaged rate of two wind turbines per hour. The majority of future development is predicted to take place in China, as well as the US, the EU, and India.
Over a 2015-2021 forecast period included in IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report (2016), it is expected that costs associated with solar PV will drop by 25%, and by 15% for onshore-wind projects.
In fact, it’s anticipated that in the next 5 years, more than 60% of global power capacity will come from clean sources; by 2021, the report estimates more than 7600 terawatt hours of green energy— a figure that exceeds the current generation of both the US and EU combined.
“I am pleased to see that last year was one of records for renewables and that our projections for growth over the next five years are more optimistic,” expressed IEA executive director Dr. Fatih Birol. “However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables.”